Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do. (from Goodreads)

I had heard a lot of hype about this book before it came out. I meant to read it then and never got around to it -- so I was sure to request it from the library as soon as it became available. Rae Carson did not let me down. This story was rich with detail and surprises.

Elisa was the shining jewel of this book for me. I loved her character. She was real, unapologetic, brave, questioning, and loyal. She was certainly not your typical princess -- both physically and in character -- and that really made her character strong.

Another great thing about this book was that it was realistic. Here I go with a Hunger Games comparison again, but I know that Mockingjay, the final book in that trilogy, sometimes gets some flack because major characters die. Mockingjay was my favorite book in the trilogy because it portrayed war so honestly, and I feel the exact same way about this book. This was also a story about a war, and like Katniss, Elisa was focused on the war and not on her potential suitors. In fact, this story was so realistic, that when some of the major characters died off, I kept waiting for the "Just kidding!" reveal. Like they weren't really dead. But you know what? They were. War is horrific like that. It takes people away and doesn't look back. You just have to keep moving foward, and Elisa did.

All that being said, this book did have lovely romantic elements. I really enjoyed Humberto. He knew his place -- but he also knew his heart. As for Alejandro...I'm on the fence about that guy. But I think that's testament to Rae's great character building. I don't think he is the kind of guy someone can fully love or fully hate.

The sequel, Crown of Embers, doesn't come out until next October! Hopefully, it will be on Netgalley again, so I don't have wait so long for it!


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